The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including gluten-free and vegan dishes.


Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts

August 17, 2023

My Sister's Favorite - Eggplant Pulusu

We all have things we don't like eating. Whether it's an allergy or you just don't like it. I had a couple of things I didn't like eating when I was younger like cooked peas, chopped nuts in desserts, and elephant yam. As I got older, I was able to eat those things again. 

However, my sister has always disliked eggplant. And it's not a specific type of eggplant. She doesn't like all types of eggplant: Chinese eggplant, American eggplant, white eggplant, or baby eggplant. Over the years, we tried many ways to get her to eat it but all failed. I always tease her whenever I'm cooking eggplant, that I'm making her favorite. I wonder what she will say when she reads this post. 

I don't get why she doesn't like eggplant. I LOVE eggplant. I love it whether it's made into a dip like babaganoush or eggplant raita, stuffed eggplant, or stir-fried eggplant. There are so many ways to cook it. It's the sweetness that makes me go crazy for it. 

Today, I'm sharing a recipe to make Eggplant Pulusu or Roasted Eggplant Stew. It's sweet and sour and delicious as a side dish or when served with rice. 

  • 1 large Eggplant (American variety), peeled and chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 red onion (medium size), chopped
  • 4 to 5 green chilies, chopped finely
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • size of a large lemon of dry Tamarind, soaked in warm water
  • 2 Tbsp jaggery or brown sugar
Ingredients for Seasoning
  • 1½ Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera (or whole cumin)
  • 5 to 6 curry leaves (optional)
  • A pinch of Hing (Asaphoetida)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)


1)  Heat oil on low to medium in a non-stick pan (large enough to hold the eggplant pieces). When you feel the heat from the oil, add mustard and cumin. When they start to sizzle, add curry leaves and Hing. Mix well. 

2) Next, add the chopped eggplant, green chilies, and salt and mix well. Cover the pan and cook the mixture until the eggplant is soft. Mix intermittently. 

3) In a blender, pulse the soaked tamarind with 1½ cups of water a few times. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the fiber. 

4) Mix the tamarind juice into the cooked eggplant mixture. Next, add brown sugar, turmeric, and chopped onions. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.


5) Remove from heat. Taste and adjust the salt and sweetness to your liking. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy it with rice, quinoa, chappati, or naan. 

Do you like eggplant? Let us know in the comments if you try this dish. We love hearing from our readers. 

February 2, 2017

Andhra Special - Stuffed Eggplant and Potato Masala

One of my favorite vegetables to cook with is Eggplant. It's slightly sweet and pairs well with the spice mixtures (or masalas) we cook with. In addition, there are so many varieties to choose from and can make dishes: small round ones, Chinese eggplants that are long and slender; both purple and white, Italian Eggplants, fat eggplants that I use to make bharta, etc.

Last week we went to our local Indian grocer and we found these lovely small round eggplants perfect for making Guthi Vankaya.

Guthi Vankaya in English means stuffed eggplant. This dish is popular in Andhra Pradesh. The stuffing is made with a variety of spices, onion and fresh coriander.

Most of our family likes this dish, the only person who doesn't like it is my sister. She truly, deeply dislikes EGGPLANT. We trick her now and then by camouflaging the vegetable but she can see right through us.  

Guthi Vankaya - Stuffed Eggplant and Potato Curry
She's totally missing out. I mean who doesn't like Eggplant? I asked my sister many times but all she tells me is "I don't like the taste of it".

Since my mother is making this dish for all of us, she throws in a potato so my sister can still appreciate the dish without eating the eggplant. The masala and vegetable combination is really delicious.

It's not difficult to make; you just have to make the stuffing and stuff the eggplant and cook it together with the potato to the right consistency. Let's check out more details on how to make it.

Ingredients and Prep Work
1-1/2 lb or about 10 Eggplant (small round type) 
1 to 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 large onion, chopped finely or grated coarsely
1/3 cup chutney powder
1/4 cup dry coconut powder
2 Tbsp Dhan-jeera powder (coriander and cumin powder)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
1 tsp tamarind pulp 
3 to 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp or 2 pinches turmeric powder
1 tsp salt or as needed

Cut the stalks of each eggplant and make a + slit at the bottom (as shown in the picture below).

Mix in a bowl all the dry ingredients: chutney powder, dhan-jeera powder, dry coconut powder, chili powder, onion, fresh coriander, and tamarind paste. 

Then sprinkle two tablespoons of water to bring the mixture together.

Now it's time to stuff the eggplants. Rub a pinch of salt inside each of the slit eggplant.
And then take about a tablespoon of the mixture and stuff each of the eggplants and keep them aside.

Heat oil in a skillet on low-medium flame; then add turmeric.

Stir and immediately add the stuffed eggplant and potato and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt.

Mix well and cook under a closed lid for  15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplants.

Add in remaining onion and masala mixture (if any) and stir and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the eggplant is browned. Transfer into a serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped coriander. Serve hot with rotis or rice.

If you liked this recipe, also check out our Stuffed Karela dish. For more dish ideas, also check out our recipes page. 

May 16, 2016

Cool Down with Eggplant Raita (Yogurt Dip)

GOT EGGPLANT?? My mom stopped by the farmers market the other day and bought this large and round eggplant. She couldn't help it; it was so beautiful. It called out to her, "bring me home and cook me". So she did. 

Eggplant is such a versatile ingredient. You can make anything with it: dips, curries, stew, or just throw it on a grill. I especially love eating eggplant with my grilled cheese sandwiches

Tonight, my mom decided to cook it another way to help us stay cool in this weather. She made eggplant raita (yogurt dip) to eat with rice and roti. Eggplant raita closely reminds of Baba Ganoush, a popular Middle Eastern dish. 

Eggplant raita dish has two of my favorite ingredients: eggplant and yogurt. Let's get cooking:

- 1 lb large and round size eggplant, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1 tsp whole mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- 2 green chilies, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Whole milk plain yogurt
- 1/2 tsp Salt (adjust to your taste)
- A few sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped finely (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat oil on low-medium temperature. Once you feel the warmth on palm, add urad dal, mustard and cumin seeds. Then add green chilies and turmeric powder. Once the mustard cumin seeds start to splutter, add the chopped eggplant. Stir the mixture together and cover and cook under lid for 8 to 10 minutes. Lift the lid after that time and check to see if the eggplant is cooked. 
(Hint: take a flat wooden or silicon spatula and try to cut or split the eggplant to see if it's cooked. If it cuts easily, then it's cooked. If it doesn't then, cover with the lid and cook for a few more minutes.) Once the eggplant is cooked, add salt and transfer the mixture into a serving dish and let it cool. Once it cools, add the whole milk plain yogurt and mix thoroughly, Garnish it with coriander and voila!

Quick Tip
- If using 2% or 1% milk plain yogurt, please add 1/4 cup of sour cream to the dish to make it thicker. 

May 12, 2015

Mother's Day Special - Vegetarian Maqluba & more

I've always been curious and adventurous about cooking. When I was little, I used watch my mom cook in the kitchen. The aroma of the taalimpu or tadka (tempering of the spices) was so energizing. When she mixed those spices with the various vegetables, my mouth was watering and I couldn't wait to eat what she had made. It was that joy of cooking that drove me to learn to cook our ethnic food. 

I'm all grown up now and I still find the tempering of spices euphoric. Just a whiff of whatever is being cooked in the kitchen is enough to make me run wherever I am to the stove. I thank my mom for getting me excited about Indian cooking and teaching me the ways. She's always encouraged my sister and I to experiment and not be afraid to try new dishes.

I feel that some of that energy or spunk has rubbed off on my dad as well. He's been testing out a lot of recipes he finds on the Internet and gets feedback from my mom.

This Mother's day was no different. He was catching up on his daily dose of world news and found an interesting recipe for a rich dish called Maqluba; a Middle Eastern dish that literally means "upside down", The dish includes meat, rice and fried vegetables in a pot which is then flipped upside down when served. Leave it to my dad to come up with the menu for this special day. He researched further and found a vegetarian version of this dish on the Serious Eats website.

Vegetarian Maqluba (Rice Layered with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Cauliflower)

Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Spice Ingredients

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
We adapted this recipe to what we had at home and used garam masala for all the spices except turmeric.

Other Ingredients
  • 1-2/3 cups basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/4" thick slices
  • About 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium cauliflower, divided into medium florets
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4" thick slices
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
  • Hot sauce such as sambal oelek, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or coriander, for serving (optional)


Adjust oven racks to middle positions and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover rice with water, stir in 1 tsp of salt and let soak. 

Stir together all the spices in a small bowl. (In our case, we measured the garam masala and put it in a bowl). In a large bowl, toss eggplant slices with 3 tbsp oil, 1/3 of the spice mixture, salt, and pepper to taste. Lay eggplant out on two rimmed baking sheets and roast, turning slices once, until eggplant is browned and tender (see example below), about 20 minutes.  

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, with 2 tbsp oil, 1/3 of the spice mixture, salt, and pepper to taste. Lay cauliflower out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until cauliflower is browned and tender, about 20 minutes. 

Time to assemble the Maqluba
Line the bottom of a Dutch oven with a circle of parchment paper, then brush paper and sides with melted butter. Assemble tomato slices in a circle, covering bottom of the pot and overlapping the slices as you go. Follow with the eggplant, Arrange cauliflower over eggplant. Drain rice thoroughly, then spread over cauliflower. Stir remaining spice mixture and 1 tsp salt into vegetable, and pour over rice. Scatter garlic pieces over top. 

Place pot over high heat and bring stock to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove pot from heat, remove lid, drape a clean tea towel over top of pot, and quickly replace lid, letting dish set for 10 minutes. Quickly invert rice dish onto a large round platter; do not remove pot for 2-3 minutes. Remove pot and circle of parchment and serve maqluba with plain yogurt, hot sauce and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired. 

Although we substituted some ingredients and used a different pot, our Maqluba dish still turned out well. 

We also tossed together a healthy salad (my sister's recipe): baby spinach, cooked beets (purchased from Costco), walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, diced apples, flax seed powder, and diced carrots. This salad can be eaten as it is or with poppy seed salad dressing. Every since my mom tasted this salad at my sister's place, she always asks her to make it whenever she's visiting us. 

I'm not a big fan of salads, but I love the ingredients in this recipe. I couldn't believe my sister came up with it on her own; she always seems to surprise me with her ingenuity. 

For dessert, I made Dark Chocolate brownies with walnuts using Pillsbury brownie mix and just added chopped walnuts. After we all tasted these brownies, I don't think we're going back to the original kind. I don't feel as guilty eating these since the only calories are from the oil and cacao. Once in a while, it's okay, right. 

My mom loved her Mother's day surprise dinner and we enjoyed cooking together after a longtime. 

Quick Tips
- We realized the importance of parchment paper after we flipped the pot into the serving dish. Some of the rice and vegetables fell out of place. If we had used the parchment paper as suggested in the recipe, everything would have stayed in place and looked more presentable. 

- We forget to garnish the dish with fresh cilantro or coriander. It would have added more flavor. Lesson learned and looking forward to making it again. 

- You can always cut down the recipe by half if you're making it for less people. 

Have you made or tried Maqluba before? What did you do for Mother's Day? Please share your thoughts with us. Happy Mother's day to all the mommies and to be mommies!

July 13, 2014

Vangi Bhath - More Than One Way to Eat Rice!

You know what the Chinese and the Indians have in common? RICE!! It's our STAPLE food. We eat it with everything. 

We Indians ESPECIALLY LOVE mixing it with SPICES and VEGETABLES to make it more flavorful and different. The spices make the STAPLE food more interesting to eat. 

Here's a signature rice dish from Karnataka (a state in Southwest of India) called Vangi Bhath. It's made with a special blend of spices called Vangi Bhath spice powder (which include coriander, black gram dal, cumin, red chili, Fenugreek, cloves, and cinnamon), eggplant or brinjal, curry leaves, peas, cashews, mustard seeds and of course, plain white rice. 

I love eating Vangi Bhath with a little bit of YOGURT!

Quick Tips:
- To make the rice dish, simply follow instructions on the back of the spice powder packet
- These packets are available at most Indian grocery stores such as Subzi Mandi or Patel Brothers. 

September 13, 2011

Ended Summer With A BANG-AN!

I can’t believe summer has come to end. One of my favorite memories this past summer was going fruit picking at a local farm with my family.  Even my grandmother had fun; she especially enjoyed the hayride around the orchard.  We were so famished from picking “all day” that we stayed at the farm for some grub.

The staff served up free samples of dishes cooked with the fresh produce. It was such a delight! My favorite was the Charred eggplant, zucchini and red bell peppers. It closely resembled a dish we prepare called Baigan Bharta; baigan means eggplant in Hindi. We don't grill that often so it was nice trying the dishes at the farm.

Over  Labor Day weekend, we finally set up the grill and had ourselves a mini barbecue with corn on the cob and Baigan bharta sandwiches. I brushed the corn on the cob with a little bit of lemon juice, chili powder and salt and it delicious. The sandwiches came out so well, I thought I would share the wealth.

Below is the recipe for the filling and it is good enough for 6-7 sandwiches.

Main Ingredients
- 1 medium sized Eggplant, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- ½ cup of Crushed Tomato (use equivalent amount blending fresh tomatoes)
- 1 medium sized Onion (red or regular), chopped finely
- ½ cup of Coriander, chopped
- 1 tsp of Chili powder
- ½ tsp of Turmeric
- ½ tsp of Mustard Seeds
- ½ tsp of Whole Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp of Salt (Adjust to taste)
- 2 tbsp of Vegetable oil
- 2 to 3 tbsp of BBQ sauce (preferably Smoky flavored)*  

1)  In a skillet heat oil and season with mustard and cumin seeds, when they start to splatter, add a pinch of hing (optional), turmeric and chili powder. Then mix well.

2) Add onions and stir until transparent, add tomato and cook well. Add chopped eggplant and salt, cook well under covered lid mixing intermittently.
3) When the eggplant is cooked well and blended into tomato, remove the lid and add chopped coriander and mix. Lastly, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Smoky flavored bbq sauce.

Baigan bharta can be served as a side dish for any meal. It can be also be served with roti, naan or rice. For our sandwiches, we toasted whole wheat bread and topped the bharta with Monterrey Jack (love the spicy kick). It was like eating sandwiches hot off the grill; especially with the addition of the smoky barbecue sauce in the recipe and the hot gooey cheese.

***Quick Tip: We used the smoky flavored BBQ sauce to add the charred flavor to the dish; similar to making it with roasted or grilled eggplant.

Check out the review of this dish on Wanderlust Wednesday. Have some feedback about our dishes, please feel free to post your comments and/or send us an email.